A Note From Rick | Witch Hazel, Winter Hazel, Paperbush and Winter Jasmine

February 22, 2017

By Rick Bogusch

Bridge Gardens

Because of your support, Bridge Gardens continues to grow and thrive.

There’s nothing more certain than the march of time - and that means spring will be here before you know it. But as these relatively bleak winter days stretch before us, I’m often asked, “What looks good now?”

My answer to this is:

Witch hazels, (Hamamelis) which are a wonderful shrub for winter interest, and there are several showing off fragrant blooms right now at Bridge Gardens!

Winter hazel, (Corylopsis) with their yellow bell-shaped flowers are blooming along with spring flowering bulbs like tete-a-tete daffodils and Siberian squill.

Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is another winter bloomer, but is so small it can be overlooked. However, it can be trained to grow up a tree or post, or as a mounding shrub, and is worth checking out for your garden.

Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) is another amazing winter bloomer with its fragrant, tubular yellow clusters hanging off beautiful copper-colored branches in early March.

My favorite plant for winter interest is holly — just about any variety. The shapely, bright green leaves and red fruit make winter days seem warmer and always recall the verdant lushness of summer for me. Excellent as screening, American holly (Ipex opaca) is native to Long Island and is often seen on the edges of local beech forests. They are extremely drought- and shade-tolerant, and very deer resistant, unlike many hollies. Just remember to get both a male and female plant to ensure you’ll have red berries.

I’m always inspired to get outdoors on those intermittent warmer days that tease us into thinking its time to start on the lawn. Don’t do it! It is still way too early, and that includes fertilization. Our friends at Perfect Earth Project also urge you not to rake your lawn in spring, as it often creates bare patches that are perfect for weed seeds like crab grass to germinate and infest your lawn. I avoid raking until the growth of lawn grass is well underway, and spend more time just picking up sticks, twigs and acorns. This is a great job for small hands - bring your children outdoors and challenge them to a contest to pick up as many sticks as they can! 

I hope to see you at our upcoming Spring Lecture Series, set to kick off on March 5 with a conversation between Matt Schmitt of Schmitt Farms, Ron Goerler of Jamesport Vineyards, and Chef Jason Weiner of Almond Restaurant. Our series of conversations will once again be moderated by Laura Donnelly. We are sold out, but call and ask to be put on the wait-list if you haven’t already RSVP’d.           

I also look forward to welcoming you back to the gardens this Spring! Even though our local spring prognosticator — groundhog Holtsville Hal — predicted 6 more weeks of winter, there are signs of spring all around Bridge Gardens. If it’s a beautiful day and the garden gates are open, come in to see what’s growing!


See you soon,

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